The process of building an e-learning platform for all health workers in a country is one which requires a huge amount of planning. We have learnt this over the past 5 years. Since we first came up with the idea, we have come a long way.
Our preparation has involved the following:
Linda (CEO, Koyo Digital) undertook a 3-year MSc in Blended and online learning and completed a dissertation entitled ‘Barriers and opportunities for using MOOCs for CPD in developing country contexts’. The group agreed that this research was needed to ensure we are as knowledgeable as possible before entering the implementation stage.
We developed a beta-version of a MOODLE site with a number of courses and did a small test to explore people’s views on the proposed format of the courses and activities we plan to offer when we launch. This, again, was an important learning exercise and yielded positive feedback and fuel to continue improving our product.
Ongoing collaboration with the organizations have strengthened the partnership – which we all know, is one of the keys to a successful initiative. The term of the former president of MAT, Dr Primus, ended last year, and we are so grateful to his efforts to champion the initiative and also for passing the baton to Dr Obadiya who has provided further commitment to the e-learning platform initiative. Two additional organizations have joined us – MUHAS and IT Sligo – bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to further strengthen the partnership.
The stage is now set. Achievement of target 9C of the Sustainable development goals to “significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the internet in least developing countries by 2020” (United Nations, 2015) will ensure the infrastructure is in place for an online e-learning platform. The Tanzanian e-Health strategy has a specific objective to ‘Enable healthcare workers to have access to continuous professional development through e-learning and digital resources’ and progress is being made through the Medical, Dental and Allied Health Professionals Act, stating that ‘A practicing licence shall not be renewed unless the applicant proves that he has undergone continuing professional development, in the manner prescribed in the regulations’.
Indeed things have changed in Tanzania, such that the enabling environment for moving on to the implementation stage of the initiative is now in place.
A meeting of the partners took place in Dar es Salaam on 2 May 2017, where each organization confirmed their commitment to carrying out the roles assigned to them and confirmed their readiness to move to the next stage: implementation.